Students, Families and Alumni Celebrate Class of 2019 at Freshman Pinning Ceremony

When Ryan Patrick Nolan stepped onto the stage Friday at the 16th annual John. G. Clarkson Freshman Pinning Ceremony, it was a proud moment for three generations of the Nolan family with close ties to the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Ryan’s father, Andrew Nolan, M.D. ’88, a Pompano Beach ophthalmologist, pinned his son, signifying Ryan’s commitment to a career in medicine, to the cheers of Ryan’s aunt Katherine, a dermatology resident at UM/Jackson, and grandfather, Bruce Nolan, M.D., a retired Miller School professor of neurology, physiology and behavioral medicine.

“It’s amazing how medicine has changed since I was a neurology resident decades ago at the University of Miami/Jackson Medical Center,” said Bruce Nolan, who founded the UHealth Sleep Center before retiring in 2013. “It’s been a great experience seeing these institutions move forward to train new doctors and serve our community.”

More than 300 University of Miami students, faculty, family members and alumni saluted the 200 freshmen in the Miller School of Medicine’s class of 2019 at the annual pinning ceremony, a highlight of Medical Alumni Weekend 2016.

“We officially welcome you to the University of Miami family of physicians with this symbolic pinning by our alumni and society leaders,” said Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Dean of the Miller School of Medicine. “You have shown that you have the focus and dedication to become a physician. Now, every day, you will have an opportunity to make an impact on the lives of patients, colleagues, fellow students and the community.”

Miller School students Nawara Alawa and Rhea Choi were co-directors of the pinning ceremony, which was held on the Schoninger Research Quadrangle.

“We are striving to become physicians with the unwavering integrity that we admire in our Dean and our alumni,” Choi said. “We look forward to rewarding careers as we persevere and innovate in our profession.”

In her keynote talk to the class of 2019, Marilyn K. Glassberg Csete, M.D. ’85, told the future physicians to “be the hero in your own story — but don’t forget the people here who helped you write it.”

A Miami native, Glassberg talked about her early interest in medical research and the support she received from a series of mentors who encouraged her career. Now professor of medicine, surgery and pediatrics, Vice Chairman of Medicine for Diversity and Innovation, Director of the Interstitial Lung Disease Program, and Chief of Pulmonary Diseases at the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute, Glassberg encouraged the students to take risks and challenge themselves.

“Be an active listener to your colleagues and your patients,” she said. “Finally, be happy, because that will allow you to conquer any challenge.”

Hong Uyen Hua, Student Government Executive President and member of the Class of 2016, gave a brief history of the pinning ceremony, inaugurated 16 years ago by Dean Emeritus John G. Clarkson, M.D. ’68. Then leaders in the school’s 15 societies recognized each student to be pinned by family members and alumni. After all the freshmen had been recognized, Maria Victoria Egusquiza, M.D. ’87, President of the Medical Alumni Association, led the students in reciting the Declaration of Geneva.

Alex J. Mechaber, M.D. ’94, Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education, and Hilit Mechaber, M.D. ’95, Associate Dean for Student Services, led the students in singing the alma mater, accompanied by the group “Doctor’s Note,” followed by the Dean’s reception.

Rachel Libby, a fourth-year student, summarized both the ideals and practical side of medicine in offering her reflections to the freshman class.

“It is a privilege to study medicine and you will be held to the highest standards,” she said. “Be good to each other, be willing to take on any task, always be nice to the nurses, and be sure to wear comfortable shoes.”

A photo gallery from the Freshman Pinning Ceremony is available here.

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